Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş on Sept. 22 announced that he was stepping down from his post, which he had held for the past 13 years.
“I have resigned but I am not leaving my party,” Topbaş said in a press conference, vowing to remain a member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
“I have never said ‘I am tired’ and I am not leaving the municipality in debt,” he added, while warning that opposition parties will now try to exploit his resignation.
The resignation follows disputes in the municipality administration, after Topbaş handed back five previously agreed zoning amendments on the grounds that they would damage the municipal council. The amendments were then approved once again without changes with the votes of AKP council members.
Topbaş said he was “not offended” by the recent dispute and had always been committed to the party, saying he welcomed criticism but would not forget disrespect fullness against him.
“We tried not to make mistakes. Mistakes and betrayal should not be confused. Those who betray are never forgiven. But I am proud,” he said.
“We should stand by our president [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] as 80 million people. Thank you to the people of Istanbul and also to the president, the prime minister and ministers,” he said.
Before entering office as mayor, Topbaş had worked for many years as an architect.